When it comes to losing weight, everybody and their dog has a method they claim works. It seems like every time you blink a new fitness plan, diet, or weight loss aid has hit the market.
One of the numerous methods of losing weight is to wrap the belly and other body parts up in tight cloth. These wraps purportedly help you shed pounds and inches. It seems too good to be true right? Inches dropping off your waistline and all you have to do is wear a wrap!
Well, it is in fact too good to be true.
Let’s take a look at why.
What Are Belly Wraps?
In the simplest terms, a belly wrap is a piece of fabric that is wrapped tightly around the abdomen.
They have been used for centuries by mothers in many cultures as a way of getting rid of postpartum bellies. The idea is that the wrap supported the stomach, uterus, and back immediately after giving birth when the muscles were weakened.
Each culture has its own name for the wrap, Hispanic mothers call it a faja while Japanese mothers call it a Sarashi. But it is usually just a long length of fabric that is wrapped tightly around the abdomen.
This ‘treatment’ for mommy tummy has only really hit the western world in the last few decades. However, rather than using a long bolt of fabric, tummy trainers have been manufactured.
These tend to be a synthetic fabric with some shaping. They usually look fairly similar to a corset but have more give in them. They tend to be fastened with a zip or strong velcro.
Belly wraps are also common spa treatments. In these cases, the fabric is usually soaked or slathered in topical herbs, tinctures, or lotions.
Sometimes, plastic wrap is used as a belly wrap. Usually, this is paired with a heat cream applied to the skin.
What Do Belly Wraps Claim to Do?
Belly wraps claim to help you lose weight, lose inches from your belly and waistline, and in some cases, they claim to detox your body too.
Unlike the traditional postpartum wraps that support weakened muscles, modern weight loss belly wraps claim to help you lose weight through sweat.
Plastic wraps, that are often worn once a heat gel has been slathered on the skin, prevent body heat from dissipating.
The claim is that the increased temperature around the belly makes you sweat more in that area which then helps you lose more weight.
Fleece-lined belly wraps make the same claim. These are usually designed to be worn during exercise. Because of this, they tend to be less tight than other belly wraps.
Spa belly wraps are usually soaked in herbs, oils, lotions, or tinctures. They usually claim that the herbs and lotions draw toxins out of your body while the wrap helps to shed pounds and tone your belly.
Another claim often made by sellers and marketers is that belly wraps can help reduce cellulite and tone your stomach. This is perhaps the only claim that has a grain of truth in it.
Do Belly Wraps actually Work?
For the most part, they do not.
The idea that you can lose weight simply by making your stomach all sweaty is pretty preposterous. Any weight that is lost this way is simply water weight. As soon as you rehydrate, it will go back on.
The idea that sweating more means you lose more weight is a pervasive lie. Sweating more only reduces water weight. It does not increase calorie loss which is the only true way to reduce your weight.
Spa wraps that claim to detox your body while shedding pounds are equally ineffective.
There really isn’t any medical proof or science that suggests the application of topical herbs or substances draws toxins out of your body through the skin.
The only way internal substances can get out of your skin is through sweat. Toxins do not get sweated out of the body. They are removed by the kidneys and liver.
To be blunt, there simply isn’t the infrastructure for toxins to pass back out of the body via the skin. Slathering yourself in mud or coffee doesn’t change that fact.
People do report feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and invigorated after herbal wraps. However, this is generally due to a change in mental state. The process of being wrapped, moisturized, and generally pampered is relaxing. It makes us feel better mentally without changing things physically.
These kinds of anecdotal reports are always a bountiful supply for these kinds of weight loss methods.
Advertisements will usually feature a feel-good story about someone who lost half a stone using Product X or following Diet Y.
The fact of the matter is, anecdotal evidence is not reliable. You don’t know what else that person was doing to lose weight.
I could wear the same pair of socks every time I worked hard at the gym and ate well. If I turned around and said that I lost 2 stone while wearing these socks, I wouldn’t technically be lying.
That’s how these belly wraps are marketed and sold. Don’t fall for it! They don’t work.
The only claim that has a shred of truth is the claim that these wraps can help tone and reduce cellulose.
Immediately following a wrap, your stomach skin will appear smoother and flatter. That’s because it’s been held in place by a smooth surface.
Your belly fat is fairly pliable in that it can and will take the shape of clothing or a wrap. Think about the beltline you tend to get after a long day! After a few hours, a day at most, your belly will go back to how it was before.
Really, there’s only one alternative. The only proven way to lose weight is to eat healthily and exercise frequently.
If a person or company promises that they can help you lose weight quickly or with little effort, then they are peddling bull.
You have to put the work in to see the results. You might not like to hear it, but the sooner you get on the right path, the sooner you can hit your goals.